Uzbekistan cough syrup deaths case: 3 employees of Noida based pharma firm arrested

The accused have been identified as Atul Rawat, Tuhin Bhattacharya, and Mool Singh and were arrested from Marion Biotech Pvt Ltd

The accused have been identified as Atul Rawat, Tuhin Bhattacharya, and Mool Singh and were arrested from Marion Biotech Pvt Ltd
The accused have been identified as Atul Rawat, Tuhin Bhattacharya, and Mool Singh and were arrested from Marion Biotech Pvt Ltd

Uzbekistan cough syrup deaths: Noida police arrest 3 Marion Biotech employees

Three employees of a Noida-based pharmaceutical firm, whose cough syrup led to the death of 18 children in Uzbekistan last year, were arrested on Friday for manufacturing and selling adulterated drugs. The arrests were made after an FIR was lodged late Thursday night against five officials of Marion Biotech, including two of its directors, over a complaint by a drugs inspector of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), said officials. Police said the directors are at large and a search is underway to apprehend them.

22 samples were found “not of standard quality”

Government of India and Uttar Pradesh drug authorities had checked samples of Marion Biotech products and found 22 of them to be “not of standard quality” (adulterated and spurious), according to the complainant drug inspector. “Three people associated with Marion Biotech, located in Sector 67, were today arrested by the local Phase 3 police station officials. These people were engaged in preparation and sale of fake drugs which caused serious harm to the public,” Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central Noida) Rajiv Dixit said.

Two directors are on the run

“Besides the three suspects who have been arrested, there are two more directors of the company for whom searches are underway and they will also be arrested soon. With their act, these people were endangering human life and human health,” Dixit said. The officer added that a comprehensive legal investigation into the case will be carried out.

Phase 3 police station in-charge Vijay Kumar said those arrested have been identified as Tuhin Bhattacharya, head operation; Atul Rawat, manufacturing chemist; and Mool Singh, analytical chemist.

The absconding directors of the firm who have been booked are Jaya Jain and Sachin Jain said Police. The FIR was registered under Indian Penal Code sections 274 (adulteration of drugs), 275 (sale of adulterated drugs), 276 (sale of the drug as a different drug or medical preparation) as well as under section 17 (misbranded drugs) and related violations of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940.

Noida-based Pharma company under the radar

Marion Biotech had come under the scanner in December last year for its cough syrup Dok-1 which is suspected to have led to the death of 18 children who consumed it in Uzbekistan after which the CDSCO launched a probe into the matter. The production license of the firm was suspended in January after inspections at its site by the central and state drug authorities in the wake of the controversy.

WHO issues alert against two cough syrups

On January 12, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a ‘medical product alert’, referring to two substandard (contaminated) products, identified in Uzbekistan and reported to it on December 22, 2022. “The two products are AMBRONOL syrup and DOK-1 Max syrup. The stated manufacturer of both products is MARION BIOTECH PVT. LTD, (Uttar Pradesh, India). To date, the stated manufacturer has not provided guarantees to WHO on the safety and quality of these products,” the WHO had said then.

“Laboratory analysis of samples of both products, undertaken by national quality control laboratories of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Uzbekistan found both products contained unacceptable amounts of diethylene glycol and/ or ethylene glycol as contaminants, “added WHO.

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